Vietnam third in SEA for upward social mobility: WEF

By Dang Khoa   January 23, 2020 | 01:00 am PT
Vietnam third in SEA for upward social mobility: WEF
Construction workers working on Saigon’s first metro line in April, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam has the third highest social mobility score in Southeast Asia, surpassing some strong economies in the region, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report.

With an overall score of 57.8 percent, Vietnam ranks 50th among 82 developed and developing economies included in WEF's Global Social Mobility Index published Monday.

The report measures countries' mobility levels using 10 pillars spanning five dimensions - health, education (access, quality and equity, lifelong learning), technology, work (opportunities, wages, conditions) and institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions).

Countries with higher scores provide better opportunities for their citizens to thrive and reach full potential.

The nation placed 60th in health, 39th in education access, 28th in education quality and equity, 54th in technology access, 25th in work opportunities, 71st in lifelong learning, 62nd in fair wage distribution, 57th in working conditions, 63rd in social protection and 52nd in inclusive institutions. Among these, lifelong learning is the only indicator in which Vietnam falls under the lower-middle-income group average.

Among Southeast Asian peers, Vietnam stands behind Singapore (20th) and Malaysia (43rd); and above Thailand (55th), the Philippines (61st), Indonesia (67th) and Laos (72nd). Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia and Timor-Leste were not included in the report.

The world's five most socially mobile countries are all Northern European countries. Denmark tops the list with a score of 85.2, followed by Norway and Finland, both tied at 83.6, Sweden (83.5) and Iceland (82.7).

Among the G7 member countries, Germany is the most socially mobile country in 11th place, followed by France (12th), Canada (14th), Japan (15th), the U.K. (21st), the United States (27th) and Italy (34th).

China, the world's second largest economy, came in 45th place while India, the world's second most-populous country, was way back in 76th position.

The bottom five nations were Bangladesh (78th), Pakistan (79th), Senegal (80th), Cameroon (81st) and Côte d'Ivoire (82nd).

Globally, the top 10 percent of earners have nearly 3.5 times the income of the bottom 40 percent, the WEF report says.

It also mentions that four areas most countries underperform in are fair wages, social protection, working conditions and lifelong learning.

It notes that increasing social mobility by 10 percent would help drive down income inequality and boost economic growth; and urges countries to do more to ensure fair wages, social protection, lifelong learning and better working conditions.

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